Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone
Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Alan Rickman, Richard Harris, Robbie Coltrane
Directed By :
Chris Columbus

For those few of you still living in caves, Harry Potter is the tale of a boy who is orphaned at a young age and then left to live with his abusive aunt and uncle. At the age of 11, Harry is taken away to study at Hogwarts, a prestigious school of magic, where his own history and apparent fame begin to be revealed to him. Once at the school, he makes friends and discovers a dark secret that the faculty are trying to keep hidden, even with the loose lips of Hagrid (Coltrane). Without revealing too much of the story, I will say that Harry Potter is fairly straightforward tale that spends a good amount of time developing the characters and drawing the viewer into their world.

I will state that Harry Potter did pull off a convincing environment that has a "magical" (no pun intended) feel to it. The sets and costumes were well done and the special effects were good enough to create a quality feel to them without being overly flashy. I think the low-key take on the special effects helped in keeping the focus on the story and the characters. The adult actors performed finely, even if they were mostly secondary and got little screen time as other than window dressing. As always, Robbie Coltrane was quite excellent. The children actors are better than average. Due to the sheer volume of screen time the children get, I was pleased that their performances were convincing and well done.

The production staff's intention with this movie was to follow the concept and story that made the book so popular, and in that, I would say they were successful. Unfortunately though, the pacing in the book doesn't seem to translate perfectly. For the most part, the movie is slowly paced and spends an inordinate amount of time developing the characters and relationships, with a decent chunk of it involving Harry's history and the tale of his parent's murder. It isn't until deep in the movie that you realize that there is actually a villain and an actual conflict and adventure to be discovered. Though, once this conflict has been started, it feels short and customary, if only because the build up takes up far more time to unfold. As a starter for a series of books (and possibly movies), this movie succeeds in laying the groundwork of the school, students and teachers.

For those who loved the characters of the book, this will be highly enjoyable. I, myself, was drawn in by the convincing way the world was brought to the viewer but was left hanging when the actual "Sorcerer's Stone" part came into play late in the story. People who enjoy fantastical pieces will have a good time. If you didn't get Harry Potter before this film, don't expect that you will afterwards.

- - Vane

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